Add-on projects

The PROLED study (see further information) creates a basis for all research projects regarding ED at Mental Health Centre Ballerup, and several ph.d. studies are planned as add-on studies to the PROLED-study. 

Body Image Disturbance in Anorexia Nervosa – relation to BDNF gene polymorphism and amenability to change from Body Image Exposure Therapy
Body Image Disturbance (BID) is core psychopathology in Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and is very difficult to treat. In view of the high chronicity and high mortality in AN, a better understanding of the pathophysiology of BID, as well as how to treat it, is highly warranted. A neuronal substrate of BID has been identified; however, the pathophysiology of BID in AN is unknown, and the few studies of Body Image Exposure Therapy (BIET) in AN have been small, not exploring influence of genetics and if BIET influences brain plasticity.

We intend to improve the knowledge of the pathophysiology of BID in AN, by investigating the influence of BDNF gene polymorphism, which is known to influence visual processing, on BID in AN, and whether this influences amenability to improve from BIET. Biomarkers of neural plasticity will be used to better understand the timing and size of the treatment effect. 

A study of the relation between EPHX2 gene polymorphism, rate of weight change and lipid profile in Anorexia Nervosa
The pathophysiology of Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is unknown, and chronicity and mortality is high. Gene Wide Association Studies (GWAS) suggest an involvement of the Epoxide Hydrolase 2 (EPHX2) gene in the pathophysiology of Anorexia Nervosa (AN). The EPHX2 gene influences the concentration of lipids, and dyslipidemia often occurs during weight restoration in AN. However, the impact of EPHX2 on rate of weight change during weight restoration in AN, and the relation to lipid profile, is unknown. This is an essential formative step towards characterizing the neurobiology of this illness.

Based upon findings from GWAS studies in AN, we propose to investigate the influence of the EPHX2 gene polymorphism on the rate of weight change during controlled weight restoration, and on lipid profiles in AN.

Risk factors for suicidality in Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa and their relation to selfharm
Anorexia Nervosa (AN) has one of the highest mortality rates among all psychiatric disorders and suicide is the most common cause of death in this group. Little is known about the risk factors associated with suicide in AN. In addition, potential risk genes that may influence risk of suicide are unknown. The objective of this PhD study is to identify incidence of risk factors, and risk genes, for suicide and suicide attempt in AN in Denmark and how they differ from risk factors/genes among persons suffering from Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and in the general Danish population. In the long term, increased awareness of risk factors, and the potential genetic contribution, for suicide in AN can prevent suicide and reduce mortality.

We aim to review the existing literature about the association of AN with suicidality and risk factors including genes for the latter. Secondly, to estimate the incidence of registered suicides and registered suicide attempts among AN compared to BN and the general population, and to compare these risk factors with registered suicide and registered suicide attempt among the three groups. Thirdly, to explore the association between Polygenic risk scores with registered suicides and registered suicide attempts among AN patients.

The study is carried out in a collaboration between Mental Health Centre Ballerup and VIOSS.